You Are the Key that Opens the Lock

With your help, this year Free the Slaves will come within range of achieving a historic milestone for our organization: 10,000 people freed from slavery. In addition, this year we will support more than 45,000 people with education and empowerment programs. These initiatives help people in slavery and those at risk of enslavement understand and exercise their rights to freedom and dignity.

But, we need you. Help us OPEN THE LOCK.

We’re assisting communities in six countries to come together to end slavery. That’s why we’re asking our community of donors to come together as well. We’re introducing the Open Lock Campaign. Contributions ensure that we’re able to keep our promise to the people we intend to serve. The fund will supplement support we receive from foundations and the U.S. government.

Our Open Lock target: Raise $180,000 more in individual contributions in the final four months of 2014 than we did in the final four months of 2013.

Make your year-end gift today. If you have given before, consider stretching your gift 20 percent more to help us close the gap.



How does your donation help?

  • Direct Impact: Free the Slaves teams are on the front lines working hand-in-hand with grassroots organizations in areas plagued by slavery. We provide our partners with the training, funding, research and monitoring they need to implement our model to create slavery-free communities.
  • Comprehensive Approach: We do more than rescue those in slavery. We educate thousands of people in hundreds of communities about their rights and risks. We train hundreds of government and law enforcement officials on how to combat traffickers. We enroll children in schools to help them avoid enslavement.
  • Community Focus: Our community model helps villagers map their own path to freedom, by assessing the root causes of slavery in their specific region and then strategizing the smartest, safest actions to take.
  • Efficient Operations: More than 80 percent of our funding goes directly to programs. The rest helps us manage Free the Slaves in an effective way.

Every day, we at Free the Slaves see the impact of slavery on the people of the world. We cannot turn away. Together, we can open the lock for thousands and encourage everyone to take on this fight. When community members are given a chance to come together and resist traffickers, they do so. Let’s show them that someone cares enough to take a stand with them.


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Seth Boateng was rescued from domestic servitude thanks to our child rights training in Ghana communities | Photo: PDA

It is a familiar situation in West Africa. A child is sent to live with a relative and made to take care of all household chores, leaving them no time or energy attend school. It happened to Seth Boateng two years ago. His father left the 16-year-old with an aunt, with no promise of return.

Seth had to wake up at 4 a.m. to perform all the domestic chores for the house: fetching water, sweeping, washing dishes and cooking meals for the entire family. He was rarely allowed to eat the food he cooked. He would fall asleep at 10 p.m., exhausted — having to repeat it all the next day.

Fortunately, this case of child domestic servitude caught the attention of Mary Kusi, a member of a child rights learning group in her community. The group formed after the introduction of a child rights curriculum in the community by FTS and Participatory Development Associates (PDA). The awareness-raising program educates residents about child exploitation and encourages them to take action.

Mary confronted Seth’s aunt about the way he was being treated. Mary eventually took Seth into her own home and reported his case to authorities. PDA continues to follow the incident, providing assistance and support when necessary.

Mary’s intervention demonstrates that child rights education can produce tangible change. The learning process empowers participants to speak up and act when they encounter an injustice such as child domestic servitude.

Seth’s aunt did not send him to school while he worked as a servant in her home. But his desire to get an education was not fully extinguished. Even though he was often late to class and found it difficult to concentrate, he continued to take on additional work outside of his household tasks by shining shoes to pay for his books, student fees and feed himself while at school.

Now, thanks to Mary’s initiative, Seth no longer has to wake-up early and is given all he needs to attend school and focus on his studies.

You can read more about our child rights project on our Ghana webpage, including the detailed report on our child rights in mining pilot project.

The battle lines in the fight to conquer human trafficking span the globe, because modern-day slavery exists in every nation on earth. San Francisco Bay Area residents have an opportunity this Sunday to hear from distinguished front-line leaders who’ve been remarkably successful at combatting trafficking in several slavery hot spots — including Ghana, India, Nepal, the Philippines and the U.S.

The Elkes Foundation, together with Stanford University and Free the Slaves, is convening a special event: “Front Lines of Freedom.” This important panel discussion will provide an overview of effective responses to modern-day slavery.


slaveryForumFrontlinesOfFreedomUpdated2The event will take place Sunday, September 14th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Stanford’s Bechtel Conference Center, Encina Hall, 616 Serra Street, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305.

The event, is free and open to the public, but your must RSVP online.

Guerda Constant, director of Fondasyon Limye Lavi | Photo: FTS/Callahan

Guerda Constant has been the director of our partner organization in Haiti, Fondasyon Limye Lavi, since 2009. But her passion to defend vulnerable Haitian children and eradicate systems of slavery began long before that.

Guerda has years of front line experience working with Haitian Street Children, Children in Bondage and other local and international nonprofits. She is a natural leader, with degrees in economics and psychology.

She’s now taking her battle to the Internet, launching a new blog to share her insights and experiences from the field — inviting us all to reflect with her on how change can take root in Haiti.

“I am not here to define the morals of humanity,” Guerda writes in her inaugural post. “However, I think that ultimately, all mothers are mothers, all children are children, and every person is human, even if they do not have the same means, including education and finances. They all deserve respect and the right to live in dignity.”

Guerda has seen firsthand the resilience of her fellow Haitians, despite adverse experiences, and she believes that change is possible. Guerda calls for Haitians to first recognize the practice of restavek child slavery – where children are sent away to work as domestic servants — as harmful, and then take action to eliminate it.

“Taking a person into slavery is rendering that human being a zombie, meaning that person stands employed but not alive,” she writes. “These children need help in order to be productive parts of society, and these families need help so that they do not feel that they need to send their children away.”

DCGEP_LEARNINGALLIANCE-4CSometimes the experience of one person tells the whole story. That’s certainly true in the case of Mabel, a former child slave in Ghana.

A film crew from the Discovery Channel has just released a mini-documentary that tells Mabel’s inspiring journey from slavery to freedom.

Mabel’s story is one of several Discovery Learning Alliance segments that will be used in classroom and community settings in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to teach the importance of education.

Mabel was forced to work as a child slave on fishing boats, but was rescued by FTS frontline partner Challenging Heights. She’s now in school and has big plans for the future.

“I want to become a nurse so I can prove to my family that I can make it in life,” she says.

You can read details of Mabel’s story here. Better yet, take eight minutes to watch Mabel tell her own story. It will be the best investment of eight minutes that you could ever make.